More and more retirement plan sponsors are making simpler for investors to participate, with many more adding automatic enrollment features and automatic contribution increases, according to Merrill Lynch’s recent 401(k) Wellness Report Card. And this is boosting overall participation rates, with almost a million investors starting or increasing their contributions last year.
Among the findings:
-The number of plans that offered auto enrollment increased by 16 percent last year.
-More than 25 percent of plan sponsors have adopted automatic contribution increases
-Even plans that don’t have automatic increase option are seeing a boost just from auto enrollment. Since the beginning of 2012, 41 percent of auto-enrolled investors have voluntarily increased their contribution rates, up from 25 percent in 2011.
-During the fourth quarter of 2013, over 500,000 participants started or increased their contributions, up 10 percent from the previous year.
-Last year overall saw a 3 percent increase in the number of participants-986,000 to be exact-who started or increased their contribution levels, a 6 percent yearly gain since 2010.